Business Howls As South Korea Trucker Strike Enters 7th Day
As transportation problems from a truckers' strike spread swiftly across Asia's manufacturing powerhouse, South Korean petrochemical firms joined the automobile and steel makers in reducing operations on Monday, Byungwook Kim and Heekyong Yang reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Hyundai Motor Company is one of the companies hurt most by the strike.
The strike, which is now on its seventh day, has reduced average daily ex-factory shipments by 90%, according to the industry group representing 32 petrochemical companies in South Korea.
"The Cargo Truckers Solidarity union's collective action to reject transportation is spreading the damage to major petrochemical complexes in Ulsan, Yeosu, and Daesan," the Korea Petrochemical Industry Association said in a statement.
The 22,000-member group is protesting rising fuel prices and seeking guaranteed minimum salary. A deal has not been reached after four rounds of negotiations with the government.
Although it was unclear whether companies had already cut back on activities, a source at a large petrochemical industry told Reuters that most companies were still stockpiling finished goods in the hopes of resuming shipping.
Automakers, who have been impacted hard by a lack of timely component supplies and the inability to transport finished products, have organized a task force within their trade association to monitor the situation and advocate for a quick resolution.
POSCO has announced that several of its operations would be shut down due to a lack of storage space for unshipped goods. Hyundai Motor Company has reduced production on some lines, and cement manufacturers have also reduced operations.
Long-term labor unrest might put President Yoon Suk-yeol, a political newcomer who entered office just five weeks ago, to the test, perhaps detracting from his conservative agenda and heightening the possibility of long-term animosity with major unions.